Infrastructure Victoria has today recommended a new rail line to Melbourne Airport, a tram to Fisherman’s Bend and a major overhaul of the bus network as part of the draft of the state’s first ever cross-sector infrastructure strategy.
The independent authority’s draft strategy lays out a pipeline of major public transport projects – including a rail line extension to Clyde and electrification of rail services to Melton and Wallan and rolling out 10-carriage high capacity trains – alongside initiatives which seek to get the most out of existing infrastructure including train station upgrades and timetabling reforms.
Infrastructure Victoria Chief Executive Michel Masson said the draft strategy aimed to make the whole public transport network better connected and more efficient.
“We have made wide ranging recommendations to improve the public transport system across the state, with upgrades to rail, bus, tram and cycling infrastructure,” Mr Masson said.
Other key recommendations include:
- New rail tracks and stations in western Melbourne along the recently constructed Regional Rail Link to alleviate overcrowding on Geelong, Werribee and Wyndham rail lines
- High capacity signalling upgrades on the metropolitan rail network
- Upgrades to some of Melbourne’s busiest train stations – including South Yarra and Caulfield
- New mass transit light rail or bus networks for major metropolitan employment centres – such as Monash and Latrobe – to connect with rail lines
- Introducing new regional coach services to connect regional towns with regional cities
- Expanding bus services in growth suburbs, as well as SmartBus services and improved DART services to Doncaster
- Reconfiguring the City Loop to increase capacity on the Craigieburn and Upfield lines
- Removing barriers to innovative rideshare and carpooling schemes
Infrastructure Victoria commissioned new transport demand modelling and economic cost benefit analysis of major rail and road projects, and major transport policy initiatives.
The analysis found a Melbourne airport rail line would have a benefit cost ratio ranging from 1.0-1.4.
A review of existing data also identified that the electrification of the train line to Melton and the introduction of 10-car trains would together have a benefit cost ratio of approximately 3.2.
The analysis also considered proposed heavy rail lines to Doncaster and Rowville, both of which were found to be high cost for low benefit.
“While the evidence did not stack up for a Doncaster or Rowville rail line we have prioritised expanding public transport in these areas, including the Monash University precinct,” Mr Masson said.
Infrastructure Victoria also considered the proposed Melbourne Metro 2 tunnel from Clifton Hill to Newport but concluded the project required further investigation.
“While our evidence is clear that there is a need for a further significant uplift to rail capacity on the Mernda, Sunshine and Werribee corridors over the long term, the proposed solution comes at a very high cost and all possible alternatives need to be identified and tested first.
“We have recommended we need to go back to the drawing board to find a more effective and less costly solution,” Mr Masson said.
The draft strategy also did not recommend building an additional Metro station at South Yarra, as the evidence found it would be high cost for very low benefit.
The draft strategy has been released for consultation before the final 30-year infrastructure strategy is delivered to Parliament in December.
To read the draft strategy and supporting technical documents, or provide feedback, visit the consultation website. The consultation period closes on 31 October 2016.
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